HT Processor Dilema w/ Aerial

OK, I know there are always loads of questions asking to compare on to another. Here goes:

My set up:

Aerial 10Ts, CC5, a pair of SW-12's, and the SR-3. DONE.
An Earthquake CineNova 5 channel amp (600 x 5). Maybe done.
Now, I currently have a Theta Casablanca I and a Proceed PAV/PDSD combo. I am trying to decide if I should lose both and go the Lexicon MC-1. It apparently is a good match with Aerial. But so is the Theta.

Any thoughts? So many options...............

I wanted to throw this in as well.


Lexicon MC-1, Theta Casablanca I, Proceed PAV/PDSD, or the California Audio Labs CL-2500?

Given the costs are the same.
Honestly, I wouldn't use any one of those processrs. (expensive and not worth the price when it comes to music)Instead of paying so much for a music/video/surround processor I would strongly consider a separate preamp for true musical sound (you have decent front speakers)and just a good quality HT processor that is stricky made for surround sound and not very expensive. All HT pieces are going to give you good surround sound. They all use the same chips and decoding engines. Some may be smoother than others. The separate quality preamp is where your going to get the better sounding music. I would find a good 2ch preamp with a HT pass thru (like SF,BAT,CJ-tube or SS)and you can just find a used Denon HT receiver for the HT and pass the 10T chs thru the preamp. I heard the Lex and I own the 10T. No way is that Lex going to get good 2ch music into those 10Ts. I would also be careful with that amp. Not to put any manuf down but Earthquake has such a high failure rate. A better powerful high current amp should be better for your 10Ts. You can have your cake and eat it with going with a good quality 2ch preamp (A Sonic Frontiers Line 2 would be a good choice for you or one of the BATs, you would have to try the BATs to see if they are to your liking)and just a good mass market HT receiver (don't use the amps in the receiver)will get the surround sound just as good as the higher end processors (maybe not as smooth but good enough for soundtracks). I heard the Lex and just don't see what the fuss is, it just throws that sound around a little better and has that 7.1 steering (garbage as I'm concerned)but just as electronic and fatiguing sounding as much of the mass market stuff. If you really want the best of both music and movies, get a Theta Casanova and SF Line 3 and blow your friends mind's out with good smooth engaging sound with both music and movies. Or a BAT and Classe ssp25 if you want it a little more laid back. Too many people end up spending so much money on highend processors to only find out that 6mo down the road they are not satisfied with the music. You got some decent speakers, you need to feed them the proper electronics. Not that those processors aren't that bad (forget the Lex unless you do not care about music). Most on this site are truly into quality sounding music. For movies you don't really need to spend so much on a pair of speakers that were made more for accurate music reproduction. Music and movies have different sound dispersion. The Theta and AVP are going to be a better choice for an all in one box than that model Lexicon. I don't profess to be any kind of expert but feel safe telling you what I just did. Many others here can add much more on this. All I can tell you is that it takes MUCH MUCH more than throwing expensive highend pieces together and end up with good sound. It is MUCH MUCH easier to mess the sound up using expensive gear than it is using cheaper mass market gear. It appears to me that you are doing this too fast without putting very much research into it. I would do a lot of reading here at this site and ask a lot of questions and DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. Go to threads about the 10Ts and read A LOT IN THE AMP PREAMP section and than go back to the HT section and go OUT AND LISTEN for yourself.
Dan, I wanna help ya, but you'se goin' the wrong way.

A multi-channel amp and HT processer does not bode well for 10t. Problem with those darn HT processors is they gotta digitize every darn thing.

beemer (owner of Lexicon DC-1)
I am doing exactly as Mikec has suggested for you. I use a high quality two channel preamp, and an inexpensive Dolby digital processor.

The preamp is $14,000.00 in my case, the Dolby processor $700.00. I think the investment is right on as my preference is (as Mikec said) like most members here, preference for near perfection in music and just good quality surround sound.

That being said, my surround is better than any theatre in Dallas, so it is certainly not hard to live with.
Albert-I hate to break it to you but bose doesn't make a $14,000 preamp :) but good try!
I own a pair of 10T's, a McCormack DNA-2 LAE amp, Sony SCD-1, and a Primare P30 pre/pro for my 2-channel system.

The Primare P30 is a bare-bones pre/pro with a music first objective in it's design and is 100% analog in by-pass mode.

I've compared the P30 in my home with a CJ-PV14 and Electrocompaniet preamps. No comparison. These other two preamps were simply too subdued in their presentation when compared to the P30.

I then compared the P30 in my home with a burned-in Ayre K3-X. Although, in some respects the Ayre was more musical, it appeared to be at the expense of coloration and a subdued midrange. The P30 was much more transparent and detailed.

The P30 retails for $3500-$4000 depending on who you talk to. I've only seen one other in audiogon that also has a P30 and he felt the same way.

I like Lexicon but probably not in the same purist sense that many look at it - they have the only truly upgradeable processor, and that's because they offer generous tradein allowances on legacy processors when they come out with something new. That's the only way that "upgradeable" means anything to me.

I don't agree with the sentiment that all surround processors basically sound the same and that "good enough" will do. True if you're really avid about your music but just enjoy movies. Lexicon uses their own proprietary Logic7 surround algorithms, so it's also not true that they're all based on the same technology. I owned the MC-1 for a couple years and it's definitely not the last word in 2-channel reproduction, but it's a real nice product IMO, and you can currently get them for less than $2500 used which is an excellent deal in my opinion. Even if you ultimately add a dedicated preamp for music (a good suggestion if you can ultimately swing it), it's not overkill for HT-only. I'd recommend that you find out whether the MC-1 you were to purchase used has already been traded in (Lexicon could tell you from the serial #) because each unit is only valid on trade in a single time.

A lot of people who buy the Lexicon processor want to (and do) use the Music7 surround logic to do multi-channel reproduction from 2-channel sources. If that holds no interest to you, you'll be missing what many consider to be a major selling point of the Lexicon (including JGH, for what it's worth). I haven't used any of the other processors you mention, so my comments are in comparison, but are based on owning a succession of the Lexicon processors (on the MC-12 now). -Kirk


Great responses! I have ended up with the Proceed PAV/PDSD.
Now that said, I would not mind a 2 channel pre for music and something like the DC-1 for surround, but how would I wire such a set up? How can I use a proper 2 channel amp for 2 channel and a 5 channel for surround?

Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

Dan the Pav was a class A rated pre-amp as far back as 93.If you really want the best 2 channel your most likely going to have to go tube. I couldn't believe the sound of tubes and the JM Labs Mezzo Utopias.But everyone hears differently and therefore you will find many an opinion. I have wasted alot of money by relying on reviews or other peoples opinions,so i would recommend driving to the different high end shops and just listening to the different options. Bring your own music though.I agree with you on the 7.1 amps they are sweet and i have never had them cut off even at full volume. Good Luck